Market Rasen and Louth RUFC off the league season with a 50-7 win in glorious sunshine against Paviors at the weekend to earn an 8th placed finish.
The omens were not good for Paviors as their kick off failed to travel ten metres and Rasen opted for the centre field scrummage.
Rasen remained on the front foot as a delicate chip from flyhalf Jake Goodison was gathered by skipper Dave Starling who released Nick Harvey on the ten metre line.
With a mixture of guile and pace, the winger twisted and turned his way past several hapless defenders to scorch in under the uprights to leave fullback Matt Sutton with an easy conversion. Paviors looked to be recovering from this early set back until lock Ben Fawcett was harshly sin binned for kicking the ball away just as the referee blew for a penalty in the seventeenth minute.
This was the cue for the usual red and green routine performed this time with ruthless efficiency; kick to touch, lineout secured, drive on and another try for prop Chris Starling, converted by Sutton. Rasen almost added a third as the ball was pushed wide again to winger Dan Robinson, but the youngster’s kick and chase ended with a knock on to give Paviors a relieving scrum.
Rasen maintained their ambitious approach as Sutton came into the line eating up the ground in front of him.
As he was stopped, the ball was recycled and popped inside to imposing prop Ollie Cole who brushed aside defenders to crash over the line. From the restart Cole was back in action as he fielded the kick and charged through the Paviors defence like a rampaging rhino before the ball was released to Adam Beasley.
The rangy centre hit the gap in the defensive line and put on the gas to motor in under the posts from forty metres out to secure a try bonus point. Another Sutton conversion quickly followed to put Rasen in a commanding position.
With the half drawing to a close Rasen mounted another attack as lock Chris Mills drove the ball on before making a superlative one handed pass out of the tackle to put Robinson in at the corner, giving Rasen a 31–0 lead at the interval.
Paviors rallied briefly at the start of the second half as they kept Rasen pinned in their own 22.
On the seventh minute number eight Nathan Eggleshaw picked from the base of the scrum and by sheer determination forced himself over the line for the visitors opening try.
Fly half Tom Chalkley landed the conversion and Paviors started to enjoy more possession as Rasen’s intensity temporarily diminished although much of the play was entrenched around halfway. In the seventeenth minute the mayhem began as Leigh Dearden received a yellow card followed eight minutes later by the simultaneous banishment of Mills and Goodison leaving Rasen with twelve players on the pitch.
Bizarrely Paviors couldn’t take advantage of this and shortly after Dearden returned, Sutton made a superb break to pierce the visiting defence and crossed the line with a celebratory hand raise before grounding the ball. Another successful conversion from Sutton preceded Paviors restart.
Substitute prop Matt Ashton took possession of the kick off and then miraculously just kept going and going as defenders failed to halt his progress. A try from more than fifty metres out by a prop is something to behold and the likeable Ashton richly deserved the adulation of his disbelieving teammates.
Whilst Ashton recovered, Sutton popped over the conversion and it was back for another Paviors kick off. Direct running and smart interplay looked to have brought another score straight from a restart, but the final pass was inexplicably spilled by Harvey as Rasen looked to drive home the advantage (?) of their numerical inferiority.
Following this purple patch it was almost an anti climax when Rasen were restored to their full compliment, but Paviors were a spent force.
The red and greens rammed home their superiority with the final play of the game as the forwards drove on with number eight Ben Chamberlin in the vanguard before scrumhalf Jack Noquet sniped through a gap for the final try.
Paviors had tinkered with their side in view of an upcoming cup final, but this should not detract from Rasen’s performance, which had a bit of everything; pace, ambition, brute force and subtlety as well as high farce with three players in the sinbin added for good measure.
This was a great way to end a hard league program and a wonderful advert for the club in the presence of many sponsors.
With the league season over, the firsts turn their attention to the defence of the Lincolnshire Cup with the final being played at Grimsby on the May day bank holiday Monday May 6.
In a repeat of last year’s final, Scunthorpe who narrowly escaped relegation to deny Rasen the opportunity to play them in the league next season, will be looking to reverse the outcome.